If you’re not careful, you might drive right past the sign that points you towards Murphin Ridge Inn; and even if you’re in a van with five other people who are looking for the same sign, you still might miss the winding road that takes you to the top of a ridge. This was the case recently when The Professor and I were traveling with a group of food writers to meet Sherry and Darryl McKenney, owners and Innkeepers of Murphin Ridge Inn. But perseverance pays off because when we finally arrive, we are welcomed like old family coming home for a visit; I don’t think Sherry and Darryl have ever known a stranger – that is just the Murphin Ridge way.
After many years of suburban life, the McKenney’s were ready for a change and followed their dream of owning an Inn by purchasing Murphin Ridge in 1997. Darrell remembers that morning well – heavy with fog, he and Sherry were walking the property when suddenly the fog lifted as if being rolled up like a window blind; they both gasped as the surrounding natural beauty unfolded, looked at each other and said, ‘Oh my god, we have to buy this place!’
The National Geographic Traveler Magazine has recognized Murphin Ridge Inn as one of the 54 Great Inns in America and it is easy to understand why. Ten hand-built cabins, each with either a king or queen bed, a 2-person shower and deep jetted tub sit among 142 acres complete with hiking trails, a tennis and basketball court and a large swimming pool. We stayed in the large guesthouse which has been beautifully decorated with quality Shaker furniture – the bedding is luxurious with high thread-count sheets, fluffy pillows and Amish quilts. Believe me when I tell you our room was so comfortable I could have spent my entire day there and been a happy camper.
The style of cooking done at the Inn is Midwest regional and everything on the menu is seasonal and made from scratch. Gardens have been planted so that fruits and vegetables are abundant during the growing season and as each season progresses, the menu reflects that: pancakes, french toast and waffles served with real maple syrup, quiche with garden fresh vegetables, homemade breads and rolls as well as main course choices like steak, chicken, German Schnitzel and fish are part of regular rotation; desserts include cobblers and crisps, bread puddings, parfaits and pies. Chef Brad Robertson prepared a beautiful ‘farm-to-table’ meal for our group that was fabulous. The evening ended with me sipping Port while chatting with friends around a blazing campfire – a true luxury and a real gift given the fast-paced lives we live these days.
I could list a hundred other details about Murphin Ridge – many of which you can find on their website; but what you absolutely must experience first-hand is the McKenney’s genuine love of the people who visit, the genuine care with which they serve their visitors, the genuine passion for not only what they do but how much Sherry and Darryl deeply care about their staff – who are very much treated like family.
Whether you watch a sunrise or sunset from an Adirondack chair or listen to the rhythm of the clip-clop of Amish horses while sipping your morning coffee, Murphin Ridge is a place for rest, a place for reflection, a place to restore and a place to recharge. I think this quote from Sherry in The Murphin Ridge Inn cookbook says it all:
‘Please join Darryl and me on a rocker. Share the view of the winter wheat turning golden. Listen to the mockingbird imitate the sound of the phone in the Amish shop across the road. Wait for sunrise and a breakfast of Foggy Bottom Pancakes and homemade applesauce with a view of forever.’
The Professor and I are lucky enough to live close enough to drive over for a weekend visit and we plan to do just that very soon.
FULL DISCLOSURE: While this stop was part of the ‘3 Great Inns’ press trip, we were not asked to write, nor are we being paid for, any posts pertaining to this trip. All photographs, video work, music, sound design and opinions are strictly our own.
A Taste of the Murphin Ridge Inn
- 9 cups oats
- 2 cups coconut
- 2 cups slivered almonds
- ¼ cup wheat germ
- 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
- ¾ cup honey
- ½ cup dates
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried pineapple, chopped
- ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ½ cup dried cherries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix together the oats, coconut, almonds and wheat germ
- Mix the oil and honey and toss with the oat mixture
- Spread on a greased cookie sheet; bake stirring every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes or until golden
- Allow granola to cool before adding dried fruits
- Cover and store
Serve with yogurt and milk